Hotaru no Hikari: Eps 1-5

Drama ReviewsJapanese Dramas

I know, I promised to myself not to start posting about old dramas until I finish up the ones I already started working on but…..I just had to rewatch Hotaru no Hikari.  I marathoned through 5 episodes straight the other day and will finish it up when I find time.  Guess what, this drama is already 5 years old.  Time flies. 

It’s easy to write this drama off as a rom com but to me it’s more of a slice-of life drama.  This is probably because I connect with Hotaru’s character, which is why I’m so invested in her story all over again.  If you’re not like Hotaru then maybe it’s harder to empathize with her. 

However Hotaru no Hikari is by no means a perfect drama..in fact I remember it dragged on and on over Hotaru/Makoto’s relationship.  I think the first 4 episodes are great but I’m not sure how I’ll like rewatching the last half of the drama.  Unfortunately Teshima Makoto is just not an interesting character…nor is Yuuka (Hotaru’s love rival). 

Hotaru has basically mastered how to fit in with society.  She dresses and acts normally when out in public and is extremely efficient and dedicated to her work.  In fact she prefers lazing around in comfortable clothes at home, free of the worries of love and the outside world.  To Hotaru, being this way is normal but since society labels it as being a loser and a failure as a woman, she hides it from everyone else. 

Hotaru’s conflict focuses on what it really means to be a woman, and whether it’s wrong to be the way she is if society says so.  The drama doesn’t really explore these themes as much as I would like it to.  I would’ve liked it better if they left out the Makoto part and just showed us how Hotaru comes to terms with herself. 

“It’s fine, this way.  This is the real me.  I like this life.  This house, this porch here is my favorite place.”

Although Hotaru appears to be confident at work, she’s actually quite unsure of herself when it comes to love and acting like a lady.  When she compares herself to Yuuka, her love rival, she feels like she can’t match up to her simply because of the social norms of a “perfect woman”. 

If you’re not a girl maybe you can’t empathize with Hotaru’s dilemma as much.  As a girl, there is always that pressure to conform by wearing make up, dresses, heels, etc. etc. just to try to reach the ideal of what it’s like to be a woman. 

^Last two pics:  There’s a running joke about Buchou & his best friend’s bromance…

Buchou.  He’s just as immature and dorky as Hotaru, he just doesn’t realize it. 

Hotaru draws Buchou out of his attempted self-imposed isolation.  She’s the one who gets him to loosen up a bit as she shows him that not everyone has a concrete ritual to follow everyday.  Buchou is shocked by her lifestyle because he never even considered it to be an option for a lifestyle.  In a way, both Hotaru & Buchou push each other out of their comfortable comfort zones.

Even though Buchou often argues with Hotaru and calls her a himono-onna, there are many scenes where we see him in a softer light.  He knows how hardworking Hotaru is and he’s always there with her during her worst and her best moments.

Buchou helps Hotaru grow up and become more confident with herself.  He becomes the mentor figure in Hotaru’s life because he’s basically the only voice of reason during her romance with Teshima.  He’s also the one who gets her to wake up and take charge of her love life rather than just letting it pass her by.  This is to be expected, as Buchou is much more mature and experienced than Hotaru is.

Lastly, Buchou/Ahomiya…

Overall (Updated)
Like I said down in the comments, even though Hotaru no Hikari isn’t perfect, it’s SUCH a heartwarming story.  It was not executed well plot-wise but character-wise, I think it was spot on.  (not including Teshima.  Don’t even.)  Hotaru & Buchou are so endearing that they still hold a special place in my heart.  That and, as a himono-onna, what can I say, this drama suits me. 😉

heisui

I'm heisui, an Asian drama blogger and the creator of My Drama Tea. I love stories and writing, so I watch dramas and blog. I especially have a penchant for Japanese and Chinese dramas, and those hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. Oh, and I'm Legend of Zhen Huan-obsessed!
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  • ack….Buchou~
    In retrospect, Hotaru no Hikari sure wasn’t the best drama around, but I still remember it fondly. It was one of the first dramas I’ve watched soon after it aired in Japan, and its feel-good atmosphere sucked me in. As you said, it would’ve been best if it had focused more on Hotaru’s personal growth, and how she deals with her values and the way society works. Too bad when you know that this is how the story unfolds in the manga…

    I…hated Teshima in the drama, though he’s completely different in the manga: sweet, romantic, youthful. Kato Kazuki channeled his best impersonation of a wooden tree, and I’m pretty sure he had like only 2 different faces. Happy / Not happy. Though sometimes you couldn’t tell one from the other.

    The best part was certainly our awesome pair of Ahomiya (I so ♥ this nickname) and Buchou~
    I really discovered Fujiki Naohito’s charms here, as I kind of hated him in ProDai. Needless to say, I totally fell for his character. This drama perfectly created a particular mood just for the two of them, within the traditional house, and by the end of the series, the porch became a familiar and comfortable sight. All in all, it’s really perfect for the summer season.

    I intended to recap this series, to pay tribute to the queen of Himono-onnas, but I currently have an other project, less famous. So I find it funny to see it reviewed here d^^b

    • Ah, my fellow himono-onna!! I agree, even though it dragged towards the end the characters are so endearing that I love this drama all the same. And I LOVE their house!!

      Teshima’s character just didn’t have any life in it. It was like he was just…there. And that was it. I guess it kinda goes with Hotaru’s “first love” experience, she’s so caught up in her first love that she doesn’t realize his faults.

      • Ah, that’s it. He just happened to be there. But no, though love makes you blind, I’m sorry but you can at least differentiate a human from a dead fish.

        Aw, really I insist, it’s so infuriating to see such a waste of a character. Teshima isn’t the most charismatic one in the manga (that job is already taken by Takano Buchou), but he’s much more, much more lively and believable.

  • This is a very beautiful story..
    Although i only watch the episode 1-5 of part 1 and episode 6-last episode of part 2
    I really like it..
    It was so very interesting and a funny story .
    I wish i could watch it in full story..
    Is there any store selling the DVD of HOTARU NO HIKARI PART 1& 2 .. Here in the PHILIPPINES

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